Rossland Mountain Film Fest Wrapup

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
November 24th, 2010

Mother Nature and the 11th Annual Rossland Mountain Film Fest–sponsored by the Nelson District Credit Union–conspired together this past week to rock Rosslanders stoke meter up and off the charts as four days of mountain culture combined with the first major snowfalls of the year.   Selling out both the Thursday and Friday night shows once again, the biggest little film festival going showed that nobody puts on a party like Rossland.     From deep POV head cam shots of Red Mountain that defied the audience not to bob and weave their heads along with action, to incredibly heroic stories of mega Alaskan descents, filmmakers kept the audiences thrilled as they cheered on their favorite segments. Rosslander Jeff Keith noted that “these are probably the only films you ever go to where the audience talks so much during the movies.”   Indeed, that’s part of the fun of the RMFF. Viewers try to pick out the locales of the ski, bike or climbing action, laugh and cheer on friends who make it onto the silver screen, and share in the gnar on screen while also feeling the pain of some nasty crash sequences.   The segment that may have gotten the most cheers, in fact, was the appearance of Ronnie Mah making a cameo appearance in the locally produced action sports thriller that was Gnarlie’s Angels.   Putting the cherry on top of each night of the festival were some outstanding musical performances. Dandelion and the Ditchweeds spread their smooth sounds like butter all over the Thursday night Gala. Friday night brought out the twisted burlesque / circus-like stylings of Blackberry Wood featuring some mesmerizingly fast and spastic tambourine dancing by one of the band members. Fresh off the Miners’ Hall blacklist, local favourites BC/DC brought down the house Saturday night as a packed house rang Hell’s Bells and saluted those who were in the process of rocking.   Saturday afternoon featured a host of young Spielbergs to be as the Under-19 film fest held court. With 22 submissions overall the technical quality of the films continued to impress attendees. The near full house watched as Liam Barnes film Forget Walking: Rural Free Running took home the cash–literally–as winner of People’s Choice as well as best Sports Adventure film.   “We were inspired by two things: Youtube videos and a German exchange student (Richard Olariu).,” explained winning producer Liam Barnes. “We had been watching free-running videos on Youtube for some time when we found out that this German kid, Richard, did some free-running back in Berlin. One summer night, he invited us out to try some ‘parkour’ with him. on those first nights, even though we were hopelessly unskilled in the ways of the free-runner, a flame was ignited in our hearts that wasn’t going to die anytime soon. Though Richard left to go back to Berlin in September, Justin, Julian, Ethan, and I (all starring in the film) have continued to build up our parkour skills. We don’t plan to stop free running until we’re too old to pull it off. “   The snowy weather that got so many excited unfortunately stopped flights into Castlegar, forcing the cancellation of Christian Begin’s filmmaking workshop. The literally unstoppable Barry Blanchard, who, one could imagine, would take the pilots seat himself if need be, wowed the Sunday afternoon workshop with incredible tales of mountaineering heroics.   Seemingly in possession of nine or more lives, Blanchard told story after story of near misses, friends lost and multi-day non-stop climbs of the biggest and baddest mountain faces on the planet. Whether it was being caught hanging upside down from a rope 20,000 feet in the air during a half hour avalanche or dropping his ropes while still stuck precariously on the side of the biggest rock face on earth, story after story of literally willing himself through hairy situations left the audience gasping at the shocking feats. For myself, it was hard to decide whether I was inspired or completely deterred from wanting to get into big mountain alpinism.   The one tie that bound Blanchard together with his audience which has been one of the guiding lights in his career was “the awesome humility that comes when you realize how insignificant your presence is next to these huge mountains.”   Indeed, the mountains can humble as well as inspire and over the four days of the 2010 edition of the RMFF, audiences were taken on a roller coaster ride through the complete spectrum of emotions.   Festival Results:   Thursday night fan favorite: Mt. St. Elias.   Friday night fan favorite: Gnarlie’s Angels   Overall People’s choice winner: Eastern Rises   U-19 results:   Overall People’s choice: Forget Walking: Rural Free Running – Liam Barnes   Best Action Sports Film: Forget Walking: Rural Free Running – Liam Barnes   Best Documentary: Remembering War – James Klemmenson   Best Animation: Swamp – Zach Lacosse   Best Drama: Lights, Camera, Kick-Ass – James Klemmenson   Honourable Mention: Life According to Liam – Mitch Lenarduzzi    Judges; Choice: Going for Gold -Peter and Julian Locke


Categories: Arts and Culture

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